Saturday, March 20, 1982

Joan Jett hits #1 for the first of 7 weeks with "I Love Rock and Roll"

Last updated 4/9/2020.

I Love Rock and Roll

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Writer(s): Jake Hooker, Alan Merrill (see lyrics here)


First Charted: December 12, 1981


Peak: 17 US, 15 CB, 15 HR, 1 AR, 4 UK, 18 CN, 15 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 86.64 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

When the Rolling Stones sang “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),” the lesser known Arrows felt obligated to respond with their more celebratory message of “I Love Rock and Roll.” BR1 The American trio went unnoticed stateside, but garnered enough attention in England to warrant their own TV show. Still, they only recorded one album and this 1975 song didn’t even make it on; it was originally relegated to a mere B-side of a single. SF

The Arrows’ message eventually reached a mass audience, though. While Joan Jett was touring England as a member of the teenage girl group the Runaways, SF she saw the Arrows performing “I Love Rock and Roll” on a TV show. She wanted to cover the song, but was outvoted by her band members. SF After the Runaways’ demise, Jett cut the song herself. She shopped it to twenty-three record labels before finally getting the attention of Boardwalk Records, RS500 a new label formed by Neil Bogart, the “emperor of disco at Casablanca” MA and “king of bubble gum at Buddah and Cameo/Parkway.” MA

Even then, the song only surfaced in Holland as the flip side of a cover of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” BR1 Jett still believed enough in the song to buy the radio rights for $2500. RS500 She made a decent investment: today, the song that became the biggest pop hit of 1982, WHC is worth close to $20 million. RS500

In the Arrows’ hands, the song’s message about a guy picking up a girl and taking her home made for a fairly clichĂ©d topic in a rock song. SF In Jett’s hands, though, the song became an empowering anthem about the woman aggressively pursuing the guy SF and shaped Jett’s image “as a tough, confident” SF “girl-rock icon.” RS500


Resources and Related Links:

  • Joan Jett’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 553.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 300-1.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (12/04). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SF Songfacts
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 11.

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